Local Government Performance Center : Lean Academy

How Benton-Franklin Health District used Lean to make its immunization process work better

The Benton-Franklin Health District building is a clean, modern facility, shining brightly from its location tucked behind a shopping center and other businesses. The waiting room is spacious, and the interior brims with helpful pamphlets about preventing common diseases, staying healthy and knowing when to visit your doctor. The facility is designed to put clients at ease as they wait for their appointments. Health District employees care about their clients and have designed their space around their clients’ comfort. You can read all about how the Benton-Franklin Health District improved its immunization process to even further center their care around their clients on the Digital Audit Connection- or watch the video below.


Big improvements at the City of Ridgefield

Watch our new video and read our case study featuring the City of Ridgefield and their dedication to continuous improvement. Ridgefield contacted our Local Government Performance Center for some help in smoothing out the kinks in their utility billing process; it had become a burden for City staff and headache for customers. Following a week-long kaizen, the highly engaged and motivated staff began implementing changes such as improved communication with new customers, a new online bill payment service, and a more efficient utility shut off process. These changes have resulted in some improvements—a 50 percent reduction in utility customer shut offs, for example. To access the case study, click on the icon to the left; the video is below​.


Is it time to enroll in the Lean Academy?

Like most governments, cities and counties in Washington are being asked to do more with less. They have slashed budgets, reduced staff and eliminated programs – but still struggle to deliver required services within existing resources.

Lean performance improvement strategies can help governments deliver services to citizens more effectively by reducing variation, waste and delays in complicated processes. These strategies may be common in business and industry: the Lean Academy helps bring them to local government organizations across the state. 

More about the Lean Academy 

We are doing work with many local governments across the state. For example, Snohomish County worked with the Lean Academy to embark on a reform effort called the Service, Technology, Excellence Program (STEP), which is an effort to incorporate Lean principles into county processes. You can read the case study here​​ or watch the video below.

For more inspiration on how the Lean Academy can help your government work better, cost less, and deliver higher value, watch this video about changes in Cowlitz County that helped different parts of county government work together to become more efficient. 

Save your place at the Lean Academy

​The Local Government Performance Center has developed the Lean Academy to help more local governments learn and use Lean strategies. The Academy brings a supportive environment to the trainings offered to local government employees, so they can learn process improvement techniques side-by-side with peers from similar organizations.

Typical Lean Academy workshops deliver three days of training on Lean techniques followed by a one-week workshop analyzing their processes. Attendees observe one another's experiences and have the opportunity to help each other learn and grow.​​ Kittitas County (video below) was able to vastly improve their permit processing time with the help of the Lean Acacemdy.​


Several local governments have already attended Lean Academy workshops, and are now using Lean to streamline their processes. For example, Whatcom County reduced the time it takes to issue a single family home construction permit from 31 to nine days following an intensive Lean analysis of its process in April 2013.

For more information about the Lean Academy, email the Local Government Performance Center at performance@sao.wa.gov ​or call us at (360) 725-5621​.​

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